Chow Bella

Border Food Summit Brings Small Farmers, Ranchers, Co-ops and Food Communities Together

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The keynote speaker for the event will be Ricardo Salvador of the Union of Concerned Scientists (formerly with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation). Meanwhile, one of its principal organizers is Natalie Morris, a driving force behind Downtown Phoenix Public Market's Urban Grocery before its demise.

Conference topics will include community approaches and enterprise approaches to farming and ranching, economic development and cultural preservation.

Sunday, September 16th, is devoted to all-day tours. Participants may choose among three:

1. Tucson's Local Food System: Explores how people use urban spaces for food production, distribution and education projects. Sites visited include St. Phillips Farmer's Market, River Road Gardens, Tucson Village Farm, Food Conspiracy Co-op, Las Milpitas de Cottonwood Farm and Tierra y Libertad Organization.

2. Farming in the Borderlands: Showcases unique production methods used in the borderlands. Participants will tour an organic farm/ranch, a permaculture farm and a local winery, as well as learn about seed-saving and pollinator gardens. The tour makes stops at Avalon Organic Gardens & Ecovillage, Red Mountain Foods, Patagonia Community Garden and Pollinator Garden, Native Seeds/SEARCH Conservation Farm, Deep Dirt Farm Institute and Dos Cabeza Wineworks.

3. Traditional Foods of the Sonoran Desert: Explores how native and heirloom foods were used in the past and are used today. Stops include Tumacacori Orchard (cultivated with Spanish Mission-era fruit tree stocks), a desert walk (with ethnobotanist Martha Ames Burgess to learn about desert edibles) and San Xavier Co-op Farm (which cultivates native and heirloom crops).

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Nikki Buchanan